After modifying the cancellation rules & child concession, the Indian Railways has now modified the rules for those availing the senior citizen quota and concession. Those found to be misusing the quota & concession from 1st February, 2016 will be charged a penalty in addition to charging the difference between the normal & concessional fare.
Like in other public services, the Indian Railways also extend certain facilities to senior citizens. These facilities are extended to men who are a minimum of 60 years and women of minimum 58 years of age. They are granted concession in fares of all classes of trains. The concession is 40% of the fare for men and 50% of the fare for women.
Other Facilities extended to Senior Citizens
- Apart from the concession in fares, certain other facilities are also extended to the senior citizens.
- 40% Concession in fare for Men over 60 years of age and 50% Concession for Women over 58 years of age
- Provision in the Passenger Reservation System (PRS), to automatically allot lower berths to Senior Citizens and female passengers of over 45 years of age.
- A combined quota of two (2) lower berths per coach earmarked in Sleeper, AC 3 tier, AC 2 tier for Senior Citizens, Women over 45 years of age and Pregnant Women travelling alone.
- Provision for Wheelchairs at stations.
- Provision for separate counters at PRS centers for Senior Citizens.
Instances of misuse of the Quota & Concession to Senior Citizens
As per the current system of booking, no proof of age is required at the time of purchasing tickets. However, during journey the senior citizen is required to carry prescribed documentary proof issued by any Government agency showing their age or date of birth. In case the senior citizen is not able to produce the requisite proof of age during the journey, he/she is charged the difference of fare (between full fare and concessional fare). Apart from this, Senior citizens are also provided a facility to get confirmed lower berths under Senior Citizen Quota.
The Indian Railways found instances of misuse of both the concession and quota in the following ways.
- Passengers book tickets under Senior Citizen Quota by giving wrong age. In case they are detected they give the difference of fare otherwise they go undetected resulting in loss of revenue to the Railways.
- Some passengers also book confirmed lower berths under Senior Citizens Quota and in case they get detected, they pay the difference of fare. If they are not detected, then they enjoy the benefit of senior citizens concession as well as quota
- Some agents are known to use this method to cheat the passengers. They book the ticket by giving wrong declaration of age and subsequently modify the e-ticket by giving correct age and dupe the passengers of the fare.
The new rules have a provision for Penalty
The Indian Railways has now modified the existing rules governing the Senior Citizen travel. The broad changes that will come into effect from 1st February, 2016 are the following.
- IRCTC will now make a provision that whenever a passenger enquires about the PNR status, the fare charged on the ticket will be reflected. This will help passengers who depend on agents for booking. They will now know how much fare has been charged for their booking.
- IRCTC will also explore the feasibility of displaying other relevant details like full form of quota under which booked, age of passenger so that the passengers do not get cheated by unscrupulous booking agents.
- Misusing both using both Quota & Concession: Whenever any passenger is found travelling in the train on the berths booked under Senior Citizen Quota by declaration of wrong age, he/she will be treated as travelling without ticket and charged. This will be treated as a case of misusing both Quota and Concession. The railways treat this misuse as cheating and hence will charge this offence as ticketless travel.
- Misusing Concession: Whenever any passenger is found travelling in the train by declaration of wrong age to get senior citizen concession only (and not lower berth), they will be charged penalty in addition to difference of fare. (between full fare and concessional fare)
The Railways has also instructed its ticket checking staff to be patient and tactful while handling such passengers to avoid any complaint regarding any harassment.